Destination Cuba: Architecture…From Ruins To Restoration

The architecture in Cuba is mind boggling.  What was once a glamourous destination to the stars and jet setters of the US is now crumbling to ruins around it’s citizens.  People live in buildings that surely would be condemned in the US…



How many families reside behind these walls?  What are their lives like?  These questions and more run through my mind as I aim my camera here and there…



Nestled amongst the ruins, down one side street or another, a chance glimpse into a doorway reveals treasures of architectural beauty in all it’s splendor.  Such was the case in this Apothecary Museum in Havana…



We managed to pop into a few churches to photograph.  My preferred setup is to use my Fisheye lens with my tripod centered for a symmetrical composition and then bracket five to seven frames to capture exposure information throughout the image and combing them into HDR images…



Sacred Heart Church…



A trip to the top floor of Hotel Sevilla yielded a different view of the city.  Using my telephoto lens compressed the scene to convey the feel of how tightly built the city is…



We took advantage of our rental van and made a trip to Castle El Morro.  It’s a great place to make a pano shooting back at Havana…

Havana Pano


Our timing was right on as a tall ship passed by…



The age, the texture, the overcast weather all added up to perfect B&W conditions.  I knew at the moment I clicked the shutter on the following image that I would convert the image to B&W using NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 and I would paint the color of the Cuban flag back in using a layer mask…



It was the face that drew me into the middle of the street to center the castle in my frame, the dramatic clouds and monochromatic colors are what made me think B&W…



While it may have felt that we left no street un-explored, Old Havana covers a pretty large area and I know that on my return visit next year I will find new streets to explore with many architectural treats in store.  Our adventure continues as I share some of my favorite car photos next.  Stay tuned.





  1. I could look at your photographs for hours, any and all of them, but your images from Cuba still stand apart. They are beautiful, but at the same time they are so evocative and powerful that I’m just overwhelmed. Thank you for sharing them!

  2. Can’t wait to see the photos. Dick and I realllllllllllllly want to go to Cuba! gloria

  3. I like the photo for the open air closit ( I think they have California Closits beat) . HeHe.

  4. Gary Leonard says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s ashame people have to live in such poverty!

    • True, but I’ve never seen such joyous people. They are quick to greet each other with a hug or kiss, a quick smile and are never too busy to stop and talk.

  5. Nice comps, Laurie. What HDR software are you using?
    Nice to see that you have recovered and are out doing what you love, taking pictures.

    • Thanks Don, I use both Photomatix and NIK HDR software. I even did single capture HDR on some of the car photos to get “the look” I was after.

  6. Harald Jaegtnes says:

    Amazing, inspiring and beautiful pictures from Cuba. Thank you.
    Kind regards Harald

  7. Linda Green says:

    wow, these are great pix Laurie…love the post processing as well!!! Looked like it was a fun trip.

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